Feb 4, 2009

Times Weighs In On WTU Contract Proposal

For too long The Washington Times has not been reporting on public education in DC. This leaves The WaPo as a sole source mainstream newspaper gone unchecked . I am glad to see that finally we are getting some coverage by Times reporter Daniel Leaderman. I certainly welcome more coverage by other local newspapers so that the 'other side of the story' that the WaPo editorial board fails to approve of gets covered.

A blogger posted a recent request on 'The Washington Teacher' for the details of our newly revised contract proposal to be revealed. Contract negotiations are suppose to be confidential of course as required by law. What we saw this summer when details of the contract pay proposal was presented to teachers was an aberration. Let both sides negotiate in good faith without interference from The Washington Post editorial board and many not so well intended others who don't have one piece in this pie. Here is today's Times article in its entirety:

DC Teachers' Union Backs Goals
By Daniel Leaderman

"The Washington Teachers' Union made public Tuesday a summary of its revised contract proposal to D.C. public schools officials. The two-page summary makes clear the proposal was designed to support the broad goals of the school system's five-year education plan.
However, it provides only broad objectives -- including "high-quality, job-embedded professional development" programs for new teachers and "increasing base salaries" to recruit and keep good teachers. Union spokeswoman Monique LeNoir said specifics will not be made public because negotiations are confidential.

The proposal is a response to city schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's controversial plan to persuade D.C. teachers to suspend tenure -- exposing them to possible dismissal -- in exchange for potentially large salary increases. Mrs. Rhee's proposal has drawn national attention, including the criticism of Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, who said last fall that Mrs. Rhee seemed "more concerned with who advises the union than what is really at stake -- raising academic achievement for D.C.'s students." The group declined Tuesday to comment on the proposal by its local affiliate.

"We have received the Washington Teachers' Union's proposal and we look forward to reviewing it," said Dena Iverson, spokeswoman for D.C. public schools. The union proposal, presented over the weekend to the city, also calls for the creation of centers for teachers to receive additional training and share materials and resources. They would be modeled after those in New York City, Miss LeNoir said. The proposal also calls for "a strong discipline-and-safety program that includes consistent monitoring, enforcement, and proactive intervention." "The provisions in our proposal stress the importance of accountability, collaboration, and cooperation among all stakeholders, essential characteristics of any successful school district," union President George Parker said in the summary." (Posted by The Washington Teacher). Article courtesy of The Washington Times.

1 comment:

Nathan said...


The atmosphere needs to be examined concerning these negotiations however this issue of confidentiality can not be readily dismissed. Previously, it wasn't just the Washington Post running stories concerning supposedly confidential negotiations. Whenever Chancellor Rhee attended out of town meeting her statements were reported via podcasts and videocasts. So if a confidentiality agreement or a precontract negotiation agreement actually exists it should be presented. If one exists then the WTU allowed Rhee to recklessly violate it. Many including the executive board have asked for it and it has yet to be presented. In this environment, we must verify. Certainly Chancellor Rhee has leveraged the media for her point of view. I am concerned teachers not be denied information or any opportunity to be heard unreasonably. So many members are talking about a lack of voice on critical matters.

I looked at another article which was more involved with points of view of the negotiating parties on my blog. You can reach it by NathanSaunders.blogs.com or http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00e54fa4063b88340105370dac4c970b

Some teachers have sent me articles about what is in the contract proposal. First and foremost, I want the members to get detail information from the WTU.